The First Hot Days

The first hot days of late spring have let us know that we will be warm this summer. This is the case nearly every year and even the silliest of us should have twigged to it by now. In past years I have gone along with the gag and consented to be uncomfortable for months. This year I am going to revolt. I have the weapons at hand.

a. I have an air conditioner in my study. When the heat rises I am going to retreat to this room, damn the expense, and continue in comfort.

b. I am going to rise with the lark. Getting older does that to you – I can only assume that the lark has a dodgy bladder as well. Never mind, while I am up, I might as well get on with scraping the carcase, boiling the coffee, and sending out the posts. Also the laundry and other menial tasks. It is cool in the dawn.

c. The workshop heats rapidly, so part of the early morning will be devoted to what might be done in comparative comfort. The later morning will be reserved for whatever spray painting jobs have been lined up, as the heat will make the paint flow better and the noon to 4:00 o’clock period will be perfect for still air and heat curing of the paint.

d. Work on small kits in the study is easy…I have a portable modeller’s workstation I cobbled up last year. I just pick it up, move into the house, and carry on.

e. The period just after lunch is going to be devoted to a deliberate siesta. I am retired and have the time for this, and find that it is a very refreshing thing. And hour and a half is more than enough to energize me to go all evening when it is cool.

f. Gotta go somewhere? Drive in the heat of the day with the A/C in the car going.

g. Gonna wear heavy restricting clothing in the heat? Nope. Gonna wear cargo shorts, thongs, and a tee-shirt. I’m home and I can dress to please myself. Begone shoes…

h. Water? We have one of those cooler things and I might as well use it more.

i. Fremantle Doctor coming in? Open the house to it. The workshop has a whirlybird and big open Rolladoor.

j. Salad. Cold meat and cheese. Sushi. Just because we have an oven doesn’t mean we have to live in it.

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The Little World – Heating It Up – Cooling It Down

The summer heat has just started in Perth. The modelling shed has climbed to the official pack-it-in temperature of 35ºC…that’s 95º F for the recalcitrants. Not the hottest that it will get, but hot enough to remove the fun from a modelling session.

As you will have seen earlier in this column, I have made myself a portable modelling tray you take inside when this happens – I can sit in the A/C and build plastic models quite happily.

But that hot shed is a valuable asset, if only you know how to manage it. Last night I planned out how it could be programmed. It all depended up timing – I set things up before the temperature rose and then let it work for me:

a. The facade of the new 1:18 building has a number of trim strips that will be held on by PVA glue. If they go on cold and stay cold they are weak. But glued early and then left to cure in the heat, they become like iron.

b. Sub-assemblies for a 1:72 model need paint. One spritz from the airbrush does it, but if it is a cold day you wait forever for drying and the next stage. Today, the coats of acrylic were dry within 10 minutes and the assembly could speed forward.

c. Warping of paper and wooden parts is inevitable when you use PVA glues or water-based paints. But if you paint or glue early and let the parts set in the heat under tension or pressure, you get the finish you want without the distortion. Plus any distortions that have occurred yield to a slight dampening and then pressure in the hot atmosphere. It is like a giant oven of gentle heat. You can straighten strip wood the same way.

d. Paint goes on well in warm conditions. If there is a good finish coat needed, do it about mid-morning and then beetle off before you disturb the air and stir up dust. The hot, fast dry means that you’ll get a hard skin before this can happen.

e. You need not wear heavy clothing in the hot shed. You can get away with shorts and a tee shirt, which means that you are not wearing good pants when you get overspray. You can clean your legs cheaper than you can dryclean trousers.

f. Real heat keeps the faint-hearted off the road. You can go to the hobby shop with less traffic. Mind you, most of the dedicated modellers I know would travel to the place in a hurricane anyway…